Voice 1: In the mid-1960s, an Australian man called Reg Spiers was living in London.
Voice 2: But Reg had started thinking about going back to Australia. He wanted to fly home in time to surprise his daughter on her birthday. To raise cash for his air ticket, he got himself a temporary airport job. Then, bad luck hit. A pickpocket took Reg’s wallet containing all his savings. Reg was desperate to get back in time for his daughter’s birthday, but he had no money.
Voice 1: Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Reg came up with a plan that would get him back home without buying a plane ticket: he decided to post himself back to Australia as a large parcel. Reg had worked in the export cargo section at London airport and he had seen animals put in wooden crates in the cargo hold of planes. If a large animal could survive the flight to Australia in a crate, why couldn’t a human? Reg realised his idea was dangerous and mad, but he was determined to give it a try.
Voice 2: Reg knew that the cost of sending a heavy create as cargo was just as expensive as a passenger ticket, but he had learned that companies could send freight pay-on-delivery. All he had to do was book a place in cargo, and then worry about paying for it after he had arrived in Australia.
Voice 1: The maximum size for a crate that could be carried by air-freight was 1.5m x 0.9m x 0.75m, and Reg persuaded a friend to build him a wooden box this exact size. The crate, when it was finished, allowed Reg to sit with his legs out in front of him or lie on his back with his legs bent. The two ends of the crate could be opened from the inside so Reg could let himself out. The crate was labelled ‘Paint’ and addressed to a fictitious company in Australia. Reg was now all-set for the journey of a lifetime.
Voice 2: Reg put tins of food, a torch, a blanket and a pillow into the crate before climbing in himself. He also took two plastic bottles. One was filled with water, and one empty for him to wee into during the flight. The crate was booked onto an Air India flight to Perth, Western Australia. Everything went smoothly during loading, and Reg was soon on his way home.
Voice 1: After stops in Paris and Bombay, the plane finally landed in Perth. Reg’s crate was unloaded and taken to a shed. Reg climbed out, walked out of the shed and out of the airport. It was all as simple as that. He had survived three days in his crate, but now he was home.
Voice 2: Of course, a story like this couldn’t possibly happen today. All air freight is carefully screened and a hidden person would easily be found. But Reg wasn't discovered. And yes! He did make it home in time for his daughter’s birthday.